Whenever the deadline arrives for filing taxes, the blues often fill the air, but last Friday that was a welcome scenario given that Stony Plains Records artist Duke Robillard and his talented band had come back to Schenectady for two highly-anticipated shows at the venerable Van Dyck.
Before a large, enthusiastic crowd of fans young and old, Robillard and company played the full spectrum of the blues. Opening with a funky instrumental “Boogaloo”, the legendary guitarist followed with a wonderful rendition of T-Bone Walker’s slow-burning “You Don’t Love Me” from his 2004 album, “Blue Mood.” Acknowledging his debt to B.B. King as well (“He’s my friend, and yes, I’ve copped some guitar licks from him!”), Robillard launched into a swinging “I’m Going to Get You Told” that featured his strong vocals, with some deft electric bass by Brad Hallen sealing the deal. “Do the Memphis Grind” from 2007’s Grammy-nominated “Guitar Groove-a-rama” CD brought to mind the grit of Booker T. and the MGs, while “I May Be Ugly (But I Sure Know How to Cook)” showed off Robillard’s own humorous recipe for soulful blues, as did “Rhode Island Red Rooster” from his superb new CD, “Passport to the Blues.”
With well over two dozen albums to his credit, Robillard had plenty to draw upon even in his second show of the evening. Touchstones such as Billy Butler (“Bounce for Billy”) and Les Paul (“I’m Confessing that I Love You”) each received homage in mid-set, and left the crowd agape at the virtuosity and emotion in Robillard’s
singing and playing. With a wry look at his own mortality (“I’m 62, folks, and that got me to thinking”), he played a series of solos throughout the original “Hong Kong Suit” that had the crowd hollering for more.
Requests were forthcoming and honored, too. With organist Bruce Bears, drummer Mark Teixiera, and bassist Hallen laying down a Meters-like foundation, Robillard played an old favorite “Good Time Charlie” that raised the roof with some ferocious solos by all. “Gee I Wish” from 1994’s “Duke’s Blues” closed the night out with the crowd singing the chorus, “All night long!,” Robillard playing rhythm and lead seamlessly, and the quartet swinging like a Count Basie jam session.
Review by Fred Rudofsky
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
J Hunter’s review at State of Mind with additional photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
DUKE ROBILLARD SET LIST (second show)
You Don’t Love Me (T-Bone Walker)
I’m Gonna Get You Told
Do The Memphis Grind
I May be Ugly (But I Sure Know How to Cook)
Rhode Island Red Rooster
Bounce for Billy
I’m Confessin’ That I Love You
Hong Kong Suit
Good Time Charlie
Gee I Wish